Article for Tiptree Tribune

Many of my constituents have been in touch about the recent news reports relating to Colchester General Hospital. The Trust which manages the hospital declared an ‘internal major incident’ on Thursday 13 November 2014. This followed a visit by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) the previous day to the hospital. There has been a lot of speculation, reports, and rumours about the hospital in recent days as a result and I know this has caused some anxiety to local residents.
Since this news broke, I have had discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and the Chief Executive of the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust to ascertain what has happened, what action is being taken, and what is being done to ensure patients are put first and treated in a safe environment. When issues like this arise it is important that they are handled in a factual manner.
Although at the time of writing the CQC was yet to publish their report into the issues they found at the Trust, following verbal feedback the Trust has acted to reduce pressure on services and to redirect resources and staff to priority areas. The term ‘internal major incident’ does indeed sound alarming, but the Secretary of State for Health and Chief Executive have assured me that this is a management process used to ensure that resources and staff can focus on alleviating areas of exceptional pressure. In this case, there were pressures building on services at the Emergency Assessment Unit and Accident and Emergency Department, which meant that action was needed to protect patients and ensure that services could be delivered to a good standard.
The redeployment of staff, including senior nurses, has meant that the hospital has had to discourage people from attending A&E and that a small proportion of operations have had to be postponed. Those operations postponed have been for treatments that would require an overnight stay and should be rescheduled to take place within 28 days of the original date. This will inconvenience those patients affected, however this course of action will help the Trust ensure that it can address the capacity issues and pressures it currently faces and by doing this now it should be better placed to cope with the increased demand that comes during the winter.
To free up capacity, the Trust is also working with other organisations, including Essex County Council, to help get those patients who no longer need to be in hospital transferred home or to suitable accommodation.
There were a number of action points that have now been raised by the CQC in their report as well as some long term issues that need addressing by the hospital. More fulltime staff, especially nurses, are needed to maintain consistent and safe levels of care for patients. Action is also needed by the hospital and other organisations to plan for the demographic time bomb of growing numbers of residents living longer in North Essex. Since the Trust entered ‘special measures’ last year, it is making progress to get itself back on track and I pay tribute to the frontline staff who are doing their utmost to maintain high standards of care.
As well as receiving correspondence from constituents concerned about the hospital, I have also been sent many letters and emails praising the hospital and the care it has provided to them. The new management that is in place at the Trust is making a difference and while this incident has proven to be a test for the hospital, I will be working with them and the Department of Health to help the Trust continue to improve.
I believe that my constituents deserve to be able to access the best health services possible and be treated with a high level of care in a safe environment, and I will continue to press Colchester to get the quality of their services up to this level for all patients.

A12/A120 Consultations

Strategic Road Network Consultations

There are two important consultations running at the moment on key strategic road infrastructure improvements - the A12 widening scheme and the upgrading of the A120. Priti has been campaigning to secure new investment in these roads and has welcomed the consultations taking place. Members of the public can review the proposals for the A12 and A120 at the weblinks below, attend consultation events, and respond to the consultation. Feel free to also contact Priti by email to: [email protected] with your views too.

Widening the A12

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